"Bridgit Mendler knows for a fact that blondes have more fun. The singer-actress says so herself in her catchy, tongue-in-cheek track “Blonde.” With a beloved TV show and successful debut album under her belt, the rising star with long, flaxen locks has yet to prove the maxim wrong. Her dimples don’t hurt, either.
“I just had the desire to write a song about being blonde!” Mendler says. “But no one should feel ruled by their stereotype. Everyone should have the freedom to be who they are.” And Mendler, who is just shy of her 21st birthday, has always been a performer. She was raised in Washington D.C., where she says, “There would always be a dance party after dinner.” When she was eight, her family moved to San Francisco. At 13, she got her first gig, a bit part on General Hospital. By 16, she was settled in Los Angeles. “I think if I could go back, I would embrace the high school experience more,” Mendler admits. “That’s something that you can’t get much of in the industry—the chance to spend time with peers. But at the time, I had tunnel vision.”
In 2010 she got her big break with a role on the original Disney series Good Luck Charlie. “I already guest starred on Disney’s Jonas and Wizards of Waverly Place, so it was a smooth transition,” explains Mendler. She plays Teddy Duncan, Charlie’s spunky big sis in this family sitcom, now in its fourth and final season. Each episode, Teddy records a video diary designed to guide Charlie as she grows up, but being the teenage girl that she is, the entries are more concerned with boys than babysitting. “She has gone through some life experiences—a few heartbreaks, family challenges, new responsibilities—which is all part of growing up,” says Mendler of her character. “I’ve grown up as well, as a person and an actor. It’s bittersweet, because it was such a happy chapter in my life, but I’m excited to see what comes next.”
In the meantime, Mendler has been able to spend more time singing. During the off-season, Mendler not only starred in, but also sang on the soundtracks for TV movies Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas!, and Lemonade Mouth, as well as animated films Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 and The Secret World of Arrietty. “On one hand, it’s nice to play a character from a book that readers have already become attached to,” Mendler says of Arrietty. “It’s a challenge to live up to their vision.” Based on Mary Norton’s 1952 book The Borrowers, Arrietty was adapted by Studio Ghibli, a Japanese anime film company, and the American version also features the voices of Carol Burnett, Amy Poehler, and Will Arnett. Mendler’s song for the film, the whimsical “Summertime,” inspired the actress to write her own pop album, Hello, My Name Is…, which she released last October. The single “Hurricane” debuted at number one on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. “I had never written pop music before, so I just wanted to be fun and experimental,” says Mendler. “I’m so proud of how many people said they were impacted by the record.” She’s already hard at work on a second, for which she plans on getting personal. “I really want this album to feel genuine,” she explains. “I have a hard time writing about personal issues because there’s so much pressure to explain things in the right way, whereas when I make up a story, I can just let it unfold.”
Like a film script, perhaps? Naturally, Mendler is one step ahead: “I’ve already got ideas!” she says with a laugh. It’s clear this triple threat has no intention of stopping there. “It’s so liberating to think about where an idea can take you. That’s the coolest part of doing what I do: I could just be in my room one day when a single thought could spark a huge adventure.”
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